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Full text of "Ruthless Rhymes for Heartless Homes"

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HARVARD COLLEGE 
LIBRARY 




BOUGHT FROM THE 

Amey Richmond Sheldon 
Fund 



) / 



RUTHLESS 
RHYMES for 
Heartless Homes 

By Col. D. Streamer 




New York 

R. H. RUSSELL 

1902 



• ' I 



^ Copyright y 1 90 1 , by Robert Howard Russell 



Second impression^ December^ 1902 



HARVARD COLLEGE LIBRARY 

SHELDON FUND 

JWl.Y 10 1940 



I 



Dedicated to P. P. 



( "^i connait ion sourirt a connu le parfatt." ) 



^i 



NEED no Comments of the Press, 
No critic's cursory caress, 
No paragraphs my book to bless 
With praise, or ban with curses. 
So long as You, for whom 1 write. 
Whose single notice I invite, 
e still sufficiently polite 
To smile upon my verses. 

If You should seek for Ruthless Rhymes 
(In memory of Western climes), 
^nd, for the sake of olden times. 

Obtain this new edition, 
Ifou must not be surprised a bit, 
^or even deem the act unfit, 
That I have dedicated it 

To You, without permission. 

P. T. O. 



^p 


^H And if You chance to ask me why, 


^H It is sufficient, I reply, 

^1 That You are You, and I am I, — 


^B To put the matter briefly. 
^H That I should dedicate to You 


^H Can only interest us two; 


^B The fact remains, then, that I do. 


^H Because I want to — chiefly. 


^H And if these verses can beguile 

^H From those grey eyes of yours a smile, 

^H You will have made it well worth while J 


^^L To seek your approbation; J 
^^t No further meed 1 


^^^^_^ Of praise they need, ^^^1 
^^^^H succeed, ^^^| 


^^^^^B do ^^^B 


^^^^H they but ^^H 
^^^^^1 You on to read ^^^^ 


^H^ Beyond the Dedication. 1 


^^iQOi. H. G. j 



I 



Author's Preface 



conscience-stricken 



WITH guilty, 
tears 
I offer up these rliymes of mine 
To children of maturer years 

(From Seventeen to Ninety-nine). 
A special solace may they be 
In days of second infancy. 

The frenzied mother who observes 
This volume in her offspring's hand, 

And trembles for the darling's nerves. 
Must please to clearly understand, 

If baby suffers by-and-bye 

The Artist is to blame, not // 

But should the little brat survive, 
And fatten on the Ruthless Rhyme, 

To raise a Heartless Home and thrive 
Through a successful life of crime. 

The Artist hopes that you will see 

That / am to be thanked, not hel 

P. T. O. 



Fond parent, you whose children are 
Of tender age (from two to eight), 

Pray keep this little volume far 
From reach of such, and relegate 

My verses to an upper shelf, — 

Where you may study them yourself. 




rx 



Uncle Joe 

N Angel bore dear Uncle Joe 
To rest beyond the stars. 
I miss him, ohl I miss him so, — 
He had suab good cigars. 




[■] 



r 



Impetuous Samuel 

(AM had spirits naught could check, 
k And to-day, at breakfast, he 
" Broke his baby sister's neck, 

So he shan't have jam for teal 




[^] 



Inconsiderate Hannah 



NAUGHTY little Hannah said 
She could make her grandma 
whistle, 
So, that night, inside her bed 

Placed some nettles and a thistle. 

Though dear grandma quite infirm is, 
Heartless Hannah watched her settle, 

With her poor old epidermis 
Resting up against a nettle. 

Suddenly she reached the thistle! 

Mj\ you should have heard her whistle! 

A successful plan was Hannah's, 
But I cannot praise her manners. 



[3] 



I 



Aunt Eliza 

N the drinking-well 

(Which the plumber built her) 
Aunt Eliza fell, — 
We must buy a filter. 




[4] 



SelF-Sacrifice 



VATHER, chancing to chastise 
His indignant daughter Sue, 
Said, "I hope you realize 
That this hurts me more than you." 

Susan straightway ceased to roar. 

" If that's really true," said she, 
"I can stand a good deal more; 

Pray go on, and don't mind me." 



4^»h 



[5] 



w 

I 



La Course Interrompue 



J 



EAN qui allait a Dijon 

(II montait en bicyclette) 
Rencontra un gros lion 
Qui se faisait la toilette. 



Voila Jean qui tombe a terre 
Et le lion le digere ! 

Men Dieu I Que c'est embetant I 
II me devait quatre francs. 



4B^ 



^k 



" Jabn had on same chtbts af mine; 
I can almost see ibtm shrinking 
H'ashtd repeatedly in irine.'^ 



^xoH^ 



John 



J 



OHN, across the broad Atlantic, 
Tried to navigate a barque, 

But he met an unromantic 
And extremely hungry shark. 



W 



John (I blame his childhood's teachers) 

Thought to treat this as a lark, 
Ignorant of how these creatures 
K Do delight to bite a barque. 

Said ** This animal 's a bore ! " and, 
With a scornful sort of grin, 

Handled an adjacent oar and 

Chucked it underneath the chin. 



t this unexpected juncture 
Which he had not reckoned on, 
Mr. Shark he made a puncture 

In the barque — and then in John. 

[7] 



Sad am I, and sore at thinking 
John had on some clothes of n 

I can almost see them shrinking, 
Washed repeatedly in brine. 

I shall never cease regretting 
That I lent my hat to him, 

For I fear a thorough wetting 
Cannot well improve the brim. 

Oh ! to know a shark is browsing, 
Boldly, blandly on my boots I 

Coldly, cruelly carousing 

On the choicest of my suits 1 

Creatures I regard with loathing 
Who can calmly take their fill 

Of one's Jffiger underclothing : — 
Down, my aching heart, be still 1 



The Fond Father 




F Baby I was very fond, 

She*d won her father's heart ; 
So, when she fell into the pond, 
It gave me quite a start. 




[9] 



r 



Necessity 



ATE last night I slew my wife, 

Stretched her on the parqu( 
flooring ; 
I was loath to take her life, 
But I had to stop her snoring, 




[.o] 



Unselfishness 



yA LL those who see my children say, 
/% " What sweet, what kind, what 
-^ *- charming elves I" 

They are so thoughtful, too, for they 
Are always thinking of themselves. 
It must be ages since I ceased 
To wonder which I liked the least 

Such is their generosity. 

That, when the roof began to fall, 
They would not share the risk with me. 

But said, " No, father, take it all I " 
Yet I should love them more, I know. 
If I did not dislike them so. 




["] 



Scorching John 

"OHN, who rode his Dunlop tire 
O'er the head of sweet Maria, 
When she writhed in frightful pain 
Had to blow it out again. 




^Rj 



isfortunes Never Come 
Singly 



M 



AKING toast at the fireside, 
Nurse fell in the grate and died ; 
And, what makes it ten times 



worse, 
, the toast was burned voith nurse. 




[■3] 



The Perils of Obesity 

YESTERDAY my gun exploded 
When I thought it wasn't loaded; 
Near my wife I pressed the trigger, 
Chipped a fragment off her figure; 
'Course I 'm sorry, and all that. 
But she should n't be so fat. 




rii^ 



Tender-Heartedness 



I T~^ ILLY, in one of his nice new sashes, 
l~^ Fell in the fire and was burnt to 
-^ — ' ashes; 

Now, although the room grows chilly, 




['S] 



Jim; or, the Deferred 
Luncheon Party 



w 



HEN the line he tried to cross. 
The express ran into Jim ; 
Bitterly I mourn his loss — 
I was to have lunched with him. 




[•6] 



i 



A 



Appreciation 

UNTIE, did you feel no pain 

Falling from that apple tree ? 
Will you do it, please, again ? 
'Cos my friend here did n't se 




[■7] 



Baby 



B 



ABY in the caldron fell, — 

See the grief on Mother's brow; 
Mother loved her darling well, — 
Darling's quite hard-boiled by J 




[,8] 



Nurse's Mistake 

NURSE, who peppered baby's face 
(She mistook it for a muffin). 
Held her tongue and kept her 
place, 
" Laying low and sayin' nuffin' '*; 
Mother, seeing baby blinded. 

Said, " Oh, nurse, how absent-minded I " 




[•9] 



The Stern Parent 



F 



ATHER heard his Children scream, 
So he threw them in the stream, 
Saying, as he drowned the third, 
" Children should be seen, not 
heard 1 " 



[20] 



r 



"Bluebeard" 




YES, I am Bluebeard, and my name 
Is one that children cannot stand; 
Yet once I used to be so tame 
Vd eat out of a person's hand ; 
So gentle was I wont to be 
A Curate might have played with me. 

People accord me little praise, 
Yet I am not the least alarming ; 
^ can recall, in bygone days, 
■ A maid once said she thought me 
W charming. 

pBhe was my friend, — no more I vow, — 
KAnd — she's in an asylum now. h 

Girls used to clamour for my hand, 
Girls I refused in simple dozens ; 
LI said Vd be their brother, and 
^ They promised they would be my cousins. 



(One, I accepted, — more or less — 
But I've forgotten her address.) 

They worried me like anything 

By their proposals ev'ry day. 
Until at last I had to ring 

The bell, and have them cleared away ; 
(I often pondered on the cost 
Of getting them completely lost.) 

To share my somewhat lofty rank. 

Was what they panted for, like mad; 

You see my balance at the bank 
Was not so small, and, I may add, 

A Castle, Gothic and immense, 

Is my Official Residence. 

It overlooks a many a mile 

Of park, of gardens and domains ; 

I*m staying now in lodgings, while 

They're doing up the — well — the 
drains, — 

[22] 



For they began to give offence 
At my Official Residence. 

■ And» when I entertain at home, 

I hardly ever fail to please, 
The ** upper tens " alone may come 

To join in my *' recherche " teas ; 
I am a King in evVy sense 
At my Official Residence. 

My dances, on a parquet floor, 
My royal dinners, which consist 

Of fifteen courses, sometimes more, 

Are things that are not lightly missed ; 

In fact I do not spare expense 

At my Official Residence. 



My hospitality to those 

Whom I invite to come and stay 
Is famed ; my wine like water flows. 

Exactly like, some people say, 

[23] 




But this is mef^mper 
At my Official Residence. 



When through the streets I walk about 
My subjects stand and kiss their hands. 

Raise a refined metallic shout, 

Wave flags and warble tunes on bandsj 

While bunting hangs on ev'ry front, — 

With my commands to let it bunt. 

When I come home again, of course, 
Retainers are employed to cheer, 

My paid domestics get quite hoarse 
Acclaiming me, and you can hear 

The welkin ringing to the sky, — 

Aye, aye, and let it welk, say 1 1 



And yet, in spite of this, there are 

Some persons who, at difF'rent times, 

- — (Because I am so popular) — 
Accuse me of most awful crimes ; 



A girl once said I was a flirt ! 
Oh my I how the expression hurt ! 

I never flirted in the least, 

Never for very long, I mean, — 

Ask any lady (now deceased) 

Who partner of my life has been ; — 

Oh well, of course, sometimes, perhaps, 

I meet a girl, like other chaps. 

And, if I like her very much. 
And if she cares for me a bit. 

Where is the harm of look or touch 
If neither of us mentions it ? 

It isn't right, I don't suppose. 

But no one's hurt if no one knows I 

And, if I placed my hand below 

Her chin and raised her face an inch, 

And then proceeded — well, you know, — 
(Excuse the vulgarism) — to clinch ; 

It would be wrong without a doubt, 

That is, if anyone found out. 
[^5] 



But then, remember, Life is short 
And Woman's Arts are very long, 

And sometimes when one didn't ought 
One knowingly commits a wrong ; 

Well — speaking for myself, of course, 

I almost always feel remorse. 

One should not break one's self too fast 

Of little habits of this sort. 
Which may be definitely classed 

With gambling or a taste for port; 
They should be slowly dropped, until 
The Heart is subject to the Will. 

I knew a man on Seventh Street 
Who, at a very slight expense, 

By persevering, was complete- 
Ly cured of total abstinence ; 

An altered life he has begun 

And takes a horn with anyone. 

I knew another man whose wife 
Was an invet'rate suicide, 
[.6] 



she daily strove to take her life 
And (naturally) nearly died ; 
But some such system she essayed, 
And now she's eighty in the shade. 

Ah, the new leaves I try to turn. 
But, like so many men in town, 

I seem, as with regret I learn. 

Merely to turn the corner down ; 

A habit which I fear, alack I 

Makes it more easy to turn back. 

have been criticised a lot ; 
I venture to enquire what for; 
Because, forsooth, I have not got 

The instincts of a bachelor 1 
Just hear my story, you will find 
low grossly I have been maligned. 

'^i was unlucky with my wives. 

So are the most of married men ; 

» Undoubtedly they lost their lives, — 
Of course, but even so, what then ? 

[=7] 



I loved them dearly, understand, 
And I can love, to beat the band. 

My first was little Emmeline, 

More beautiful than day was she ; 

Her proud, aristocratic mien 

Was what at once attracted me. 

I naturally did not know 

That I should soon dislike her so. 

But there it was ! And you'll infer ' 
I had not very long to wait 

Before my red-hot love for her 
Turned to unutterable hate. 

So, when this state of things I found, 

1 naturally had her drowned. 

My next was Sarah, sweet but shy. 
And quite inordinately meek ; 

Yes, even now I wonder why 

I had her hanged within the week. 

Perhaps I felt a bit upset. 

Or else she bored me, I forget. 
[28] 



^Th 



hen came Evangeline, my third, 
And, when I chanced to be away, 

She, so I subsequently heard. 

Was wont (I deeply grieve to say) 

With my small retinue to flirt. 

I strangled her. I hope it hurt. 

Isabel was, I think, my next, — 
(That is, if I remember right)— 
, And I was really very vexed 

To find her hair come ofF at night ; 
To falsehood I could not connive, 
^^^nd so I had her boiled alive. 

^^■hen came Sophia, I believe, 

^^m Her coiffure was at least her own, 

^HLlas ! she fancied to deceive 

Her friends by altering its tone. 
^^She dyed her locks a flaming red 1 
^^■Buffbcated her in bed. 

■ Susannah Maud was number six ; 
But she did not survive a day; 
[^9] 



Poor Sue, she had no parlour triclis 

And hardly anything to say. 
A little strychnine in her tea 
Finished her off, and I was free. 

Yet I did not despair, and soon I 
In spite of failures, started off 

Upon my seventh honeymoon 

With Jane ; but could not stand her cough. , 

'Twas chronic. Kindness was in vain. 

I pushed her underneath the train. 

Well, after her, I married Kate. 

A most unpleasant woman. Oh ! 
I caught her at the garden gate 

Kissing a man I didn't know ; 
And, as that didn't suit me quite, 
I blew her up with dynamite. 

Most married men, so sorely tried 

As this, would have been rather bored. 

Not I, but chose another bride 

And married Ruth. Alas ! she snored \ 
[30] 



I served her just the saiAe as Kate, 
And so she joined the other eight. 

My last was Grace ; I am not clear, 
I think she didn't like me much ; 

She used to scream when I came near, 
And shuddered at my lightest touch. 

She seemed to wish to keep aloof. 

And so I threw her off the roof. 

This is the point I wish to make: — 
From all the wives for whom I grieve. 

Whose lives I had perforce to take, 
Not one complaint did I receive ; 

And no expense was spared to please 

My spouses at their obsequies. 

My habits, I would have you know. 
Are perfect, as they've always been; 

You ask if I am good, and go 

To church, and keep my fingers clean ? 

I do, I mean to say I am, 

I have the morals of a lamb. 
|k [3>] 



In my domains there is no sin, 
Virtue is rampant a,ll the time, 

Since I so thoughtfully brought in 
A bill which legalizes crime ; 

Committing things that are not wrong 

Must pall before so very long. 

And if what you imagine vice 

Is not considered so at all, 
Crime doesn't seem the least bit nice. 

There's no temptation then to fall ; 
For half the charm of things we do 
Is knowing that we oughtn't to. 

Believe me, then, I am not bad. 
Though in my youth I had to trek 

Because I happened to have had 
Some difficulties with a cheque. 

What forgery in some might be 

Is absentmindedness in me I 

I know that I was much abused, 

No doubt when I was young and rash 
[3^] 



3ut I should not have been 
Of misappropriating cash. 
I may have sneaked a silver dish ; — 
Well, you may search me if you wish ! 

So, now you see me, more or less, 
As I would figure in your thoughts ; 

A trifle given to excess 

And prone perhaps to vice of sorts ; 

When tempted, rather apt to fall, . - . 

3ut still— a good chap after all 1 




[33] 



The Cat 



{Advice to the T'ourtg) 



MY children, you should imitate 
The harmless, necessary cat, 
Who eats whatever's on his plateJ 
And does n't even leave the fat; 
Who never stays in bed too late. 

Or does immoral things like that; 
Instead of saying "Shan't!"or "Bosh!" 
He'll sit and wash, and wash, and wash! 

When shadows fall and lights grow dim 

He sits beneath the kitchen stair; 
Regardless as to life and limb, 

A simple couch he chooses there; 
And if you tumble over him, 

He simply loves to hear you swear. 
And, while bad language you prefer, 

He'll sit and purr, and purr, and purr! 

[34] 



The Children's "Don't' 



DON' T tell Papa his nose is red 
As any rosebud or geranium, 
Forbear to eye his hairless head 
Or criticise his cootlike cranium ; 
'Tis years of sorrow and of care 

Have made his head come through his 
hair. 

Don't give your endless guinea-pig 
(Wherein that animal may build a 

Sufficient nest) the Sunday wig 

Of poor, dear, dull, deaf Aunt Matilda, 

Oh, don't tie strings across her path. 
Or empty beetles in her bath 1 



.Don't ask your uncle why he's fat; 
Avoid upon his toe-joints treading; 
[35] 



Dont hide a hedgehog in his hat, 
Or bury bushes in his bedding. 
He will not see the slightest sport 
In pepper put into his port ! 



Dont pull away the cherished chair 
On which Mamma intended sitting, 

Nor yet prepare her session there 
By setting on the seat her knitting ; 

Pause ere you hurt her spine, I pray — 

That is a game that two can pl&y> 



My children, never, never steal ! 

To know their offspring is a thief 
Will often make a father feel 

Annoyed and cause a mother grief; 
So never steal, but, when you do, 
Be sure there's no one watching you. 



[36] 



Perhaps you have a turn for what 
Is known as " misappropriation," 

Attractions this has doubtless got 
For persons of a certain station, 

But prevalent 'twill never be 

Among the aristocracy. 

Of course, suppose you want a thing 
(The owner's absent), and you borrow 

A ruby ring ; you mean to bring 

Your friend his trinket back to-morrow 

Meanwhile you have the stones reset, 

Lest he forget ! Lest he forget I 

And if some rude detective's hand 

Should find beneath your cloak a roll 

Of muslin, or a cruet-stand 

That's labelled "Hotel Metropole," 

With kindly smile you hand them back, 

A harmless Kleptomaniac ! 

[37] 



Don't tell a lie ! Some men I've known 
Commit the most appalling acts. 

Because they happen to be prone 
To an economy of facts ; 

And if to lie is bad, no doubt 

*Tis even worse to get found out / 



Don't take the life of any one, 
However horrid he may be ; 

That sort of thing is never done. 
Not in the best society, 

Where even parricide is thought 

A most unfilial kind of sport. 



Among the " Upper Ten " to-day. 
It is considered want of tact 

To slay one's kith and kin, and may 
Be classed as an " unfriendly act." 

Oh, yes, of course I know that this 

Is merely public prejudice. 
[38] 



^*But ever since the world began, ^^^H 


Howe'er well meant his motives are, V 
The man who slays his fellow man H 


Is never really popular, H 
Whether he sins from love of crime, V 
Or merely just to pass the time. 1 


^?^J 


^^^^ [39] ^H 




patient 



SPEED, Ruthless Rhymes; throughout 
the land 
Disperse yourselves with 
zeal! 
Go, perch upon the Critic's hand, 

Just after he has had a meal. 
But should he still unkindly be, 
Unperch and hasten back to me. 

And, wheresoever you may roam. 
Remember the secluded shelf 

(Where, sitting in his Heartless Home, 
The author chortles to himself). 

There, in the distant by-and-bye. 

You still may flutter back — to die. 





A FINE IS INCURRED IF THIS BOOK IS 
NOT RETURNED TO THE LIBRARY ON 
OR BEFORE THE ^ST DATE STAMPED 
BELOW.